Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast debuted a year ago, on August 23, with the 12-episode show experiencing a wave of media highs and lows since then.
Formally announced in March 2022, Meghan’s first solo project with then-streaming partner Spotify aimed to “dissect, explore and subvert the labels that try to hold women back.”
Each episode featured in-depth interviews with celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Mariah Carey and Serena Williams, unpacking the social, cultural and personal impact labels such as “diva,” “ambitious” and “bimbo” have on women today.
Throughout the show, lead interviewer Megha, shared her own experiences with these labels, providing a rare insight into the duchess’ life story, told in her own words on her own platform.
Here, one year on, Newsweek looks at the top five personal revelations made by Meghan through the series.
Royal Tour Fire Scare
In the first episode of Archetypes—centered around the label “ambitious”—Meghan interviewed tennis star and friend Serena Williams.
During the discussion, Meghan revealed for the first time that while she was on a royal tour of South Africa in 2019 with Prince Harry and their infant son, Prince Archie, a fire had broken out in the nursery of the residence they were staying at.
“I’m standing on a tree stump and I’m giving this speech to women and girls, and we finish the engagement, we get in the car, and they say there’s been a fire at the residence. What? There’s been a fire in the baby’s room. What?” she said.
The royal disclosed that Archie’s nanny had taken him with her to the residence kitchen when smoke was discovered in the room and so he was not in danger at the time.
“We came back. And of course as a mother you go: ‘Oh my God, what?’” she told Williams. “Everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken. And what do we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement.”
Not Treated as a ‘Black Woman’ Until She Met Harry
In the second episode of Archetypes, Meghan interviewed pop star Mariah Carey, unpacking the associations connected with the word “diva.”
During their discussion, Meghan and Carey discussed their experiences as biracial women. The duchess revealed that she didn’t feel she was truly treated as a “Black woman” until she became romantically linked to now-husband, Prince Harry.
“I think for us it’s very different because we’re light-skinned. You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in between,” she said.
“I mean, if there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband. Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a Black woman.
“Because up until then, I had been treated like a mixed woman. And things really shifted.”
Meghan and Harry have both spoken about racism and the duchess’ experiences from the press and social media in the years since their exit from the monarchy in 2020.
Mental Health Breaking Point
In the show’s fifth episode, Meghan shared her experiences with seeking mental health help during a discussion about the label “crazy” with actress Deepika Padukone.
In it, the duchess revealed that during her time as a working royal in Britain, she had become so low that Prince Harry appealed to her to contact a professional for help.
“My husband had found a referral for me to call,” she said, continuing that she made the call while the professional was shopping in a store and couldn’t hear clearly.
“She could hear the dire state that I was in,” she said. “But I think it’s for all of us to be really honest about what it is that you need and to not be afraid to make peace with that, to ask for it.”
Prince Harry in particular has been an outspoken advocate for mental health and wellness both during his time working within the monarchy and after his move to the U.S..
In one of Archetypes‘ closing episodes, Meghan discussed the subject of “activism,” something she has taken to heart since her days working with charitable causes before meeting Prince Harry in 2016.
In a conversation with Iranian actress and activist Shohreh Aghdashloo, Meghan reflected on advice she was given by an unnamed notable figure in the days before her marriage.
“As Shohreh shared her closing thoughts in Farsi, it reminded me of a message that was shared with me just a few days before my wedding by a very influential and inspiring woman who, for her own privacy I won’t share who it was with you,” she told listeners.
“But she said to me, ‘I know that your life is changing, but please don’t give up your activism. Don’t give up because it means so much to women and girls.’”
No Reality Shows
The final episode of Archetypes centred around the role men play in furthering equality and the empowerment of women.
During a conversation with TV executive Andy Cohen, Meghan addressed persistent rumors that she and Prince Harry were planning on starring in a reality show.
“It had to have bubbled up to you somewhere that you moved to the States and everyone is like, ‘Oh, she should join the Beverly Hills housewives?’ I’m like, ‘She ain’t joining the Beverly Hills housewives, everybody. She’s Meghan Markle!’” Cohen told the royal, to which she jokingly responded:
“I never heard that. You mean really that this is my audition for the Real Housewives in Montecito? Is this the moment?”
When Cohen told her he would build a show around her if she was really open to the prospect, she put an end to the supposition, stating: “There will be no reality show!”
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek’s .
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